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WIPO GENEVA A/32/INF/2 ORIGINAL: English DATE: February 20, 1998 WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION ASSEMBLIES OF THE MEMBER STATES OF WIPO Thirty-Second Series of Meetings Geneva, March 25 to 27, 1998 THE GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE OF WIPO Memorandum of the International Bureau WIPO is a constitutionally complex organization. Its complexity results from the relatively long history of the Organization (using that term to cover also the predecessors of the present Organization, WIPO) and fr
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  r:\intranet\www\eng\document\govbody\wo_gb_ab\doc\a32_inf2.doc WIPO A/32/INF/2ORIGINAL: English DATE: February 20, 1998 WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ORGANIZATION GENEVA ASSEMBLIES OF THE MEMBER STATES OF WIPOThirty-Second Series of MeetingsGeneva, March 25 to 27, 1998 THE GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE OF WIPO  Memorandum of the International Bureau WIPO is a constitutionally complex organization. Its complexity results from therelatively long history of the Organization (using that term to cover also the predecessors of the present Organization, WIPO) and from the fact that, since its srcins in the last century,new treaties have been progressively concluded, each establishing a legally separate Union of States, usually with its own administrative organ of member States and budget. Thoseseparate unions have been linked by the common subject matter of the treaties establishingthem (intellectual property) and by a common secretariat (the International Bureau).In order to appreciate the existing governance structure within WIPO, it is necessary torecapitulate briefly the historical development of the Organization.I.Brief Historical DevelopmentPrior to 1967, the Organization consisted of a common secretariat, called the UnitedInternational Bureau for the Protection of Intellectual Property (BIRPI), that served theseparate Unions of States constituted by several treaties, namely–the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property of 1883 (“the ParisConvention”)  A/32/INF/2page 2–the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works of 1886(“the Berne Convention”)–the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks of 1891(“the Madrid Agreement”)–the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designsof 1925 (“the Hague Agreement”)–the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods andServices for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks of 1957 (“the NiceAgreement”)–the Lisbon Agreement for the Protection of Appellations of Origin and theirInternational Registration of 1958 (“the Lisbon Agreement”) 1 .The aforementioned treaties shared in common the following constitutional features:1.Each established a Union of the contracting States.2.Each established an administrative apparatus for the members of the Union to takedecisions. 2 3.Each provided for a common secretariat, BIRPI.4.Each made provision for contributions by member States and for expenditure byBIRPI for the purposes of the administration of the treaty.In addition to the foregoing common features, the treaties were linked by a commonhierarchical design. Under that design, the Paris Convention was considered to be the generaltreaty for industrial property, while the Berne Convention was considered to be the generaltreaty for copyright. Each of those treaties made provision for specialized agreements to be  1 The Madrid Agreement for the Repression of False or Deceptive Indications of Source on Goodsof 1891 has, for the sake of simplicity, been omitted from the enumeration of treaties because itdid not establish an administrative organ of the member States or make provision for a programand budget. For similar reasons, the International Convention for the Protection of Performers,Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations of 1961 (“the Rome Convention”) hasbeen omitted from the list because the secretariat of the Intergovernmental Committee establishedby that Convention is constituted by officials of the International Labour Office (ILO), the UnitedNations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the InternationalBureau of WIPO (see Article 32(5) of the Rome Convention). 2 The type of administrative apparatus evolved with the successive Acts of the treaties in question.For example, a Conference of Representatives for the Paris Union was not established until theAct of Lisbon 1958 (Article 14(5)(a) of the Lisbon Act). Prior to that Act, revision conferencesand, occasionally, technical meetings of the members of the Union were convened.  A/32/INF/2page 3concluded between the members of their Unions relating to particular areas of industrialproperty (for Paris Union members) or copyright (for Berne Union members) (see, now,Article 19 of the Stockholm Act of the Paris Convention and Article 20 of the Paris Act of theBerne Convention). Thus the Madrid Agreement, the Hague Agreement, the Nice Agreementand the Lisbon Agreement were each concluded as special agreements within the meaning of the corresponding Article of the Paris Convention and are open for accession only to Statesthat are members of the Paris Union. This hierarchical design served, amongst other things,the purpose of ensuring that certain basic principles (such as national treatment or the right of priority) that were laid down in the general treaty would be respected by contracting States tothe special agreement without needing to repeat those principles in the special agreements.II.The Reforms Introduced by the 1967 Stockholm Diplomatic ConferenceThe Diplomatic Conference convened in Stockholm in 1967 introduced a number of reforms in the governance structure of the Organization. Those reforms may be summarizedas follows:1.The Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (“theWIPO Convention”) was concluded. It established WIPO as the umbrellaorganization to promote the protection of intellectual property and to ensureadministrative cooperation between the various Unions constituted under thetreaties for which BIRPI, formerly, and the International Bureau of WIPO,thenceforth, provided the secretariat.2.New Acts (the Stockholm Acts) were concluded for each of the abovementionedtreaties for which BIRPI had been providing the secretariat. The new Acts aimedat rationalizing and making uniform the administrative structure under the treatiesby introducing, for each such treaty, an Assembly of member States of the Unionestablished under the treaty and a uniform cycle of programs and budgets. EachAct also provided for the secretariat for the Union to be the International Bureauof WIPO.3.In order to ensure coordination between the Assemblies of the various Unions onmatters of common interest to the Unions, such as questions concerning theInternational Bureau, the WIPO Convention provided for the establishment of theWIPO Coordination Committee.4.Various transitional provisions were established in the WIPO Convention for thetransfer of rights and obligations of BIRPI to the International Bureau of WIPO.III.Subsequent SimplificationsSubsequent to the Stockholm Diplomatic Conference, two further simplifications havebeen introduced into the governance structure of WIPO. The first was introduced toencourage more widespread adherences to the treaties administered by WIPO. It consisted of the introduction, from January 1994, of the unitary contribution system, whereby each Stateparty to more than one of the WIPO Convention and the treaties administered by WIPO pays  A/32/INF/2page 4only a single contribution, regardless of the number of such treaties to which it is party, insteadof paying separate contributions in respect of each (contribution-funded) treaty to which it isparty. The second was introduced to encourage more widespread participation in the processof concluding new treaties and more widespread adherences to those treaties once concluded.It consisted of severing the connection between new treaties and the general treaties (the ParisConvention and the Berne Convention) which resulted from defining new treaties as specialagreements under the general treaties. Instead, the process of concluding new treaties hasincreasingly been opened to any State party to the WIPO Convention (rather than being limitedto States party to either the Paris Convention or the Berne Convention), as has the possibilityof adhering to the new treaties. Thus, for example, any State party to the WIPO Conventioncould participate as a member delegation in the diplomatic conferences at which the Trademark Law Treaty (the TLT), the WIPO Copyright Treaty (the WCT) and the WIPO Performancesand Phonograms Treaty (the WPPT) were concluded, and those treaties are open to accessionby any such State.IV.The Present StructureAt present, the governance structure of WIPO can be conveniently grouped into thefollowing four tiers of bodies:(a) The Main OrgansThese are the constituent organs of member States established by the WIPO Conventionand the treaties administered by WIPO (“the Governing Bodies”). They consist of the WIPOGeneral Assembly, the WIPO Conference and the WIPO Coordination Committee, establishedby the WIPO Convention, the Assemblies of each Union constituted by a treaty administeredby WIPO, such as the Paris Union Assembly, as well as, where a treaty was first concludedbefore the 1967 Stockholm Diplomatic Conference and there are States which are party to anAct earlier than the Stockholm Act but not yet party to the Stockholm Act, the Conferences of Representatives established under the earlier Act. 3 There are, in all, 21 such bodies, 4 which, as  3 For example, the Conference of Representatives of the Paris Union, of which the DominicanRepublic, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Nigeria and Syria are members. In the case of the ParisConvention and the Berne Convention, there are also Executive Committees which meet in eachyear in which the Assemblies of those Unions do not meet in ordinary session. 4 The WIPO General Assembly, the WIPO Conference, the WIPO Coordination Committee, theParis Union Assembly, the Paris Union Conference of Representatives, the Paris Union ExecutiveCommittee, the Berne Union Assembly, the Berne Union Conference of Representatives, theBerne Union Executive Committee, the Madrid Union Assembly, the Hague Union Assembly, theHague Union Conference of Representatives, the Nice Union Assembly, the Nice UnionConference of Representatives, the Lisbon Union Assembly, the Liston Union Council, theLocarno Union Assembly, the IPC (International Patent Classification) Assembly, the PCT(Patent Cooperation Treaty) Union Assembly, the Budapest Union Assembly and the ViennaUnion Assembly.In 1991, the Assembly of the Union for the International Registration of Marks (the TRT Union)decided to “freeze” the TRT and to suspend future ordinary sessions of the TRT Union Assembly [Footnote continued on next page]

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